Acorn and vote fraud

I really should have a nice thorough blog post on all the ridiculous charges of vote fraud that Fox News and desperate right-wingers are throwing around these days.  I don't have time, but Josh Marshall has been all over the issue at TPM.  Here's a great post on the topic.  If you are not familiar with this, you really ought to read the whole thing.  Nonetheless, the highlights:

The Republican party is grasping on to the ACORN story as a way to
delegitimize what now looks like the probable outcome of the November
election. It is also a way to stoke the paranoia of their base, lay the
groundwork for legal challenges of close outcomes in various states and
promote new legal restrictions on legitimate voting by lower income
voters and minorities. The big picture is that these claims of 'voter
fraud' are themselves a fraud, a tool to aid in suppressing Democratic
voter turnout…

ACORN registers lots of lower income and/or minority voters. They
operate all across the country and do a lot of things beside voter
registration. What's key to understand is their method. By and large
they do not rely on volunteers to register voters. They hire people —
often people with low incomes or even the unemployed. This has the dual
effect of not only registering people but also providing some work and
income for people who are out of work. But because a lot of these
people are doing it for the money, inevitably, a few of them cut
corners or even cheat. So someone will end up filling out cards for
nonexistent names and some of those slip through ACORN's own efforts to
catch errors…

I've always had questions about whether this is a good way to do
voter registration. And Democratic campaigns usually keep their
distance. But here's the key. This is fraud against ACORN. They end up paying people for registering more people then they actually signed up. If you register me three times to vote,
the registrar will see two new registrations of an already registered
person and the ones won't count. If I successfully register Mickey
Mouse to vote, on election day, Mickey Mouse will still be a cartoon
character who cannot go to the local voting station and vote. Logically
speaking there's very little way a few phony names on the voting rolls could be used to commit actual vote fraud. And much more importantly, numerous studies and investigations have shown no evidence of anything more than a handful of isolated cases of actual instances of vote fraud.

Long story, short… “vote fraud” is Republican short-hand for voter suppression.

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